Following their successful auction of the works of Peyo, Artcurial had another comic strip master lined up for auction in the form of Tintin's creator Hergé.
'The Universe of Hergé' auction was an exciting event for Tintin fans, whose numbers are likely to be on the increase with the trailing of a spectacular 3D film of the intrepid reporter.
We focussed in on two of the most exciting lots, which were probably of most interest to rather different collectors. Both performed spectacularly.
Firstly, there was a copy of the French book Tintin on the Moon, which documented his adventures there whilst lunar missions were a pipe dream. The book is signed and commented on by a moonwalker from each of the six successful Apollo missions.
The comments are all tongue-in-cheek. For example Apollo 11's Buzz Aldrin refers to himself as the "first moonwalker after Tintin" and Apollo 14's Edgar Mitchell claims to have taken the "Longest walk on the moon after Tintin".
The estimate for the piece had been set at €9,000-11,000. We always thought that this was low, given the performance of moonwalkers' signatures on the PFC40 Autograph Index over the past decade, but even we were surprised at the spectacular result of €100,003 ($132,400).
It makes our collection of autographs on a photograph of Buzz Aldrin's lunar bootprint look very underpriced.
The bronze statue of Tintin which we believe we recognise from a previous auction where it achieved €124,996 went a little further this time and brought a spectacular €143,883. But the top lot was the one we were expecting.
This was the beautiful Indian ink, gouache and watercolour illustration created in 1944 for The Secret of the Unicorn, showing a swashbuckling Captain Haddock doing battle aboard ship.
Signed and inscribed by Hergé himself, this was expected to achieve €35,000-40,000 ($53,900), but proved even stronger quadrupling that upper estimate to sell for €168,907 ($223,700). Another example, showing Tintin, Haddock, Professor Calculus and Snowy brought €90,084.
Representing Artcurial's comic strips department, Lucas Hureau explained how pleased they are: "The results for the two original drawings are wonderful, as is the price for the sculpture made by Nat Neujean.
"The result for the album “On a Marché sur la Lune” is amazing, we could not imagine before the auction that it might reach such a high price level. It was a wonderful moment and, of course, a wonderful result."